Are you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, only to be overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the sheer amount of gorgeous places to see?
Or maybe you have lived here your whole life, but want to see more of Washington state?
Where exactly are most instagrammable places in Washington State?
That’s where this post comes in.
Early this year, Berty and I wrote our giant list of things to do in the Pacific Northwest to inspire us to travel more in our own backyard.
It has really motivated us to get out and explore our home state, Washington!
For all those who want a concise list of our favorite photography locations in Washington State, this is the post for you.
20 Incredible Photo Spots In Washington State
Disclaimer: Do we think this is a complete list? No! There are SO many incredible places in Washington – if we included every destination this blog post would be a mile long. Even as locals, we continue to discover more beautiful photo spots in Washington we want to add to this list. Come back time and time again to check for more updates and we explore!
1. Colchuck Lake and Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Colchuck Lake is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, in one of the most beautiful Washington state mountain ranges – The Cascades!
The trail to Colchuck Lake is long and steep (8-miles out and back with 2,100 feet of elevation gain), but worth every step of the way.
If you are hoping to stay overnight (and you definitely should!), make sure to secure the proper backpacking permits before planning your backpacking trip.
If you aren’t able to get one, day hikes can be just as rewarding!
2. Liberty Bell (North Cascades National Park)
Liberty Bell Mountain is located on Highway 20 in the North Cascades National Park.
Many people come to climb its adventurous rockface, but it’s just as exhilarating seeing it from the Washington Pass Observation Site parking lot!
To reach this area and photograph other amazing Washington sight sightseeing locations, click here to find directions for where to park and take a short hike.
3. Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach is full of adventure, wonder, and drop-dead gorgeous hikes.
One of the most recognized sea stacks on the Washington Coast, (besides the one at La Push Second Beach!) can be found on Rialto Beach, while on a trail called Hole In The Wall.
The trail to this looking is on a flat, 3.4-mile hike across the beach. After arriving at the “hole in the wall’, this lookout is a steep climb to the top of the cliff facing south.
Enjoy your time here and remember the Leave No Trace principles!
4. Sol Duc Falls and Olympic National Park
The Olympic National Park is one of the best places to take pictures in Washington State. From the lush trails of the Hoh Rainforest to the rushing waters of Sol Duc Falls, this place had adventure written all over it.
The Olympic National Park is huge, so we’ve put together the perfect road trip around the Olympic Peninsula, including all the best stops (like this one below)!
5. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is hands down one of the best places to photograph in Washington state.
Anywhere you go, Mount Rainier is waiting in the background to blow you away with yet another picture-perfect view.
There are many amazing Washington photography locations around Mount Rainier.
Some of our favorites include the Paradise Area, Nisqually Vista Loop, The Sunrise Area, and the beginning of the trail to summit Mount Rainier. Spray Falls and Narada Falls are also some incredible Washington waterfalls to check out in the area.
The trails at Mount Rainier National Park can get very busy in the summertime, so we suggest visiting early in the morning or in the shoulder season for pictures without crowds!
6. Hurricane Ridge
More often than not, this Olympic Peninsula gem is foggy and moody – a classic PNW location. A perfect mix of wildflower fields and blue/green mountains, this place captures the heart of free spirits and sunset chasers.
Make sure to check the weather before coming here, many times Berty and I have visited only to have a huge blanket of fog covering the mountains!
Read More: 11 Places To See On The Olympic Peninsula
7. Lake Crescent
If you are heading out on an Olympic Peninsula road trip, Lake Crescent is a likely stop at the beginning of your journey.
This place not only has pristine water and beautiful views from the Storm King and Fairholme docks, but you can also hike up Mt. Storm King and visit Marymere Falls on a half-day hike.
We like to come in the morning or just when the sun sets behind the mountains for that gorgeous PNW golden hour and glassy waters. It’s definitely one of our favorite places to see on the Olympic Peninsula!
8. La Push Second Beach
A summer favorite of many PNWers, La Push Second Beach should not be missed. Check the weather for a clear day and head down for one of the most spectacular sunsets you will ever see!
We highly recommend camping at La Push during the summer and even wrote a guide to camping on the beach in Washington to give you a head start on planning your next adventure.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are three beaches, respectively named First, Second, and Third Beach.
Second Beach is the most iconic! You can read more about other amazing Washingon beaches in our complete list here.
Recognize it from the Twilight Series? Take a Twilight Tour in Forks on your next trip to the Olympic Peninsula!
9. Artist Point
The proximity of the viewpoint of Mount Shuksan to the parking lot makes it an enticing stop if you’re not into a long hike! (Aka, it’s a very very short walk). One of the first places you’ll pass is a lake called Picture Lake. Spend 30 minutes walking around the area – it’s incredibly beautiful on a clear day!
Berty Mandagie is a Washington state photographer and love to shoot weddings and engagement sessions up here.
While there are options to go on longer hikes (like these ones here and here) you would be satisfied with the views just from around the parking lot.
Even in the summertime, there is snow on the ground, so bring a good jacket. Artist Point at Mount Baker is best experienced during sunrise – the sun peeks right out from behind Mt. Shuksan!
10. Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is the most northwest point of the contiguous United States. You can’t get more Pacific Northwest than Cape Flattery – literally!
Here, there is a short series of boardwalks to stunning vistas of the ocean and spectacular rock formations.
However, it’s not exactly on the way to anything (it’s a detour on a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula) so plan an extra few hours into your drive to visit Cape Flattery.
Go any time of day in any sort of weather. Personally, it looks beautiful when it’s gloomy AND when it’s bright and sunny.
You May Not Know: 34 Impressive and Fun Facts About Washington State
11. Diablo Lake
A stunning view of Diablo Lake and the North Cascades – AND it’s location is just off the highway. To find this view, route your map to the Diablo Lake Overlook. There is a big parking lot (with bathrooms) with several viewpoints of the lake below.
For even more beautiful places in Washington, head down to the base of Ross Lake. There are plenty of opportunities for camping here, including trying to snag a VERY limited spot at the Ross Lake Resort.
This is a popular place for Berty to shoot engagements…check out more posts on PNW Engagements in part 1 and 2 here!
Read More: 10 Incredibly Beautiful Hikes In Washington State
12. Palouse Falls
This 198-foot waterfall is actually the state waterfall of Washington. (More fun facts about Washington state here!)
If you live in Spokane, it’s a pretty easy drive to this state park, but for Seattleites, it will take pretty much all day for a drive. (Read this post to pack your road trip essentials!)
Luckily, there are camping spots nearby – check them out here. We recommend going during sunrise or sunset – it’s VERY hot in the middle of the day (no trees!)
Bonus: seen this bus on Instagram? It’s en route.
Want to discover more Washington waterfalls? Check out Falls Creek Falls trail, which takes you to another gorgeous waterfall in Washington!
Read More: What To Expect On A Sunrise Hike At Palouse Falls
13. Maryhill Stonehenge
Like Palouse Falls, it’s quite the drive from well…everything. (Make sure to download these amazing road trip question to pass the time!)
This historic Stonehenge was inspired by the original one in England and built as a memorial for the soldiers of the local area who fought in WWII.
It’s on the very edge of the Columbia River Gorge, so you could visit Maryhill Stonehenge if you are planning a day trip from Portland. There are plenty of wineries around the area too!
Come during sunrise or sunset (like we don’t recommend this enough, HA!) for some spectacular views. You can even spot Mt. Hood in the distance!
14. Rattlesnake Ledge
If you’ve been in Seattle only a little bit, SOMEONE is bound to have recommended you hike Rattlesnake Ledge, of of the most iconic hikes near Seattle.
The incredible view of Rattlesnake Ledge from the top is loved by families and photographers alike. It’s a perfect location for an iconic Washington photo for minimal effort.
The hike is easy enough to complete in a half-day, or even a morning. Go on a weekday for fewer crowds (it gets very busy on the weekends).
If you’re curious about what to expect on this hike, we’ve created a guide to Rattlesnake Ledge, including the best times to visit and where to take photos!
However, we also think a great time to go is on a Sunday evening -families have already gone home in preparation for the week ahead. It’s surprisingly quiet!
15. Cape Disappointment
If you’re looking to channel your inner Wes Anderson movie, this is the place for you.
This state park is located in the most southwest corner of Washington state and is a perfect stop on a road trip of the Oregon Coast.
Bring good hiking shoes and a few good hours to spend exploring the many trails here.
We’ve created a guide to Cape Disappointment to some secret coves, trails, and directions of how to reach the lighthouse!
16. Lake Wenatchee
This place is a favorite in all seasons. Just a short drive west of the quaint German town of Leavenworth is the glacial-fed lake with its iconic island.
We like to visit during sunrise, for some pretty amazing colors and a beautiful reflection on the lake! Read about our latest sunrise at Lake Wenatchee and see the amazing Washington pictures we got!
Lake Wenatchee has tons of hiking trails that surround the lake. It can get pretty windy here so keep that in mind if you are planning to camp!
17. Ruby Beach
Just a short drive south of La Push and Rialto Beach is a lesser-known gem of the Washington Coast…Ruby Beach.
Here, you can explore the many rock formations along the beach and climb over huge pieces of driftwood.
It’s a little more rugged here than La Push, so if you’re looking for a little adventure – this is your place. Want another epic Washington Coast adventure? Explore the Tree of Life at Kalaloch Beach!
Read More: 5 Essential Things You Need For The Washington Coast
18. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and surrounding areas are the perfect photo spots in Washington for geology buffs! This is also one of the most well-known places in Washington state – because of the recent eruption!
Here, you can see the remnants of the 1980 eruption, and how the surrounding landscape is recovering and changing because of it. Make sure to stop by the Johnston Ridge Observatory, where you can watch a short film about the eruption and see unobstructed views of the mountain right out the window.
We highly suggest visiting Mount St. Helens during the late spring early summer, because this is when the wildflowers are in bloom!
19. Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a Washington state park located on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound. With 4,143 acres of camping, hiking, and marine exploring, there’s something here for the whole family.
One activity we suggest doing is walking across the bridge. The wind is very fierce in this natural corridor, but exciting nonetheless!
20. The San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are the perfect place to capture that Washington State photo. To sum up the San Juans in a few words, we would say this: ferries, marine life, pristine beaches.
If any of these beautiful Washington features spark your desire, we highly suggest taking a weekend trip to go explore more.
Only have one day to spare?
Try taking an affordable whale watching cruise, that departs right out of downtown Seattle! You’ll be able to explore a bit of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and explore the surrounding Puget Sound by boat.
21. Scenic Hot Springs
Scenic Hot Springs is a hidden gem of Washington state. With reservations required and a steep hike ahead of you, only the determined and tough make it up here!
We’ve got an entire guide on what to expect at Scenic Hot Springs, but nothing beats experiencing it for yourself! We suggest coming in the winter, when the water feels that much warmer and the snow falls quietly on the surrounding trees!
Looking for more amazing Pacific Northwest hot springs? We’ve got a guide for that too!
Read More: 9 incredible Washington hot springs to enjoy all year long. (with directions!)
22. The Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is easily one of the most well-known photography spots in Washington state.
Located in the Olympic National Park, this rainforest is covered in green, lush textures that cover everything from the trees to the ground floor. It’s one of the coolest places in Washington state to visit if you love flora and fauna – there is an abundance of both here!
23. Falls Creek Falls
If you love waterfalls, you need to plan a trip to Falls Creek Falls in Washington! This is a way to moderate trail, about 5.5 miles round trip. Located in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, it has everything that makes Pacific Northwest hiking trails special.
This includes the waterfall, walking along the river’s edge, a bridge crossing, and meandering under a canopy of trees.
It’s easily one of the best photo spots in Washington state! We suggest coming in the late spring when the water levels are high.
Map of Pictures In Washington State
Love these Washington pictures but having a hard time locating them for your trip? We’ve created an interactive map that you can click on and explore more of these specific spots!
(Map under maintenance, it will be up soon!)
Did we miss your favorite place for an Instagram in Washington? Have you been to any of these places? Let us know in the comments below!
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